Telling people, ‘I told you so’ is not popular. Sometimes it has to be said. Kerry Public Service Workers Alliance warned that Croke Park 1 was a return invitation to rob us blind. Even we never envisaged our union leaders being in again, handing over more great dollops of our pay and conditions to a rapacious Government 18 months before the last deal had run its course.
Think about it. We had signed a deal – a terribly foolish one for us. But a deal, nonetheless, an agreement both parties were meant to abide by. The objective was to save us from further demands at least until mid 2014.
The economy has not worsened. We are exactly where any half-assed economist would expect us to be – scraping along the bottom, as we were before, because money is being haemorrhaged out of the economy. That is exactly what austerity can be expected to do according to the laws of economics. How is it possible, then, that we are now expected to hand over more cash?
What on earth led our union leaders to go back in again a year and a half early to help the Government figure out the best way to divide public servants and screw an extra €1,000,0000 out of us?
The union leaders – the club of General Secretaries – are traitors. They are there to do the government bidding – to deliver the public servants. In the KPSWA, we said so from the beginning. Can anyone now be left in doubt? If so, their logic would make interesting reading. We’d love to hear from them.
What about our union Executive Committees? Union members elect them. Surely they cannot also be stooges of Fine Gael and the Labour party? How did they not stop this train to ruin from leaving the station? We can only conclude that a mixture of incompetence and treachery is to blame. They can’t all be political infiltrators but, make no mistake, quite a few are.
It is now time for every trade union member to question where exactly the loyalties of their representatives lie. If they should have connections in any way with the government parties, would you not say it is time to scrutinise them very closely indeed? As for the others, they have to be either fools or outnumbered dissidents. The last group exists but there has to be a great many of the former because it is doubtful if the political parties have been able to pack the executives of unions so effectively.
What of the argument that it is better to negotiate because otherwise the government will do much worse to the public servants. If ever there was a contemptible argument, this has to be one.
Think it through. If the Government has the power to do what it likes, why should it bother to negotiate? Clearly, in the Government’s eyes there must be a big difference between getting the union leaders to dupe their members , getting them to willingly hand over their money and conditions of employment on the one hand and legislating to take the same things by force on the other.
Could it be the case that Eamon Gilmore knows full well that, in the teeth of clamouring opposition from public servants country-wide, he would not be able to get his backbenchers through the lobbies to support the necessary legislation? It would, of course, be political suicide for all Labour deputies – the old guard (Rabbitte, Quinn, Gilmore himself) don’t care; most of them will not stand for election again. The backbenchers care. They want to retain their seats. Looked at like that, imposition is not an inviting option at all for Labour – the party comes asunder and the Government falls.
Let’s think a little more about how things look from the Government side. The whole nonsense of the austerity programme on which it bases its entire strategy requires a quiescent and passive public. The last thing the Government wants is a big industrial relations battle with the public servants. Oh dear! What will the markets think? What will the ECB and IMF think? No! No! We can’t have public dissent because austerity is no good on its own. It must be accepted quietly. Otherwise, the markets get spooked fearing that the Irish might not continue to buy this nonsense for very much longer.
That is where the union leaders come in. If they can deliver the public servants, then you can have both austerity and quiescence all at once. The markets are satisfied. Fine Gael and Labour are happy, therefore. But if there is a big spat with the public servants, they are happy no longer. Then we start to look like Greece.
We have the whip hand if we could only realise it. Of course our union leaders are absolutely determined to make sure we don’t find that out. Why did they let the pension levy happen? Why did they let the pay cuts happen? Why did they undermine our strike action last time round and rush back into talks?
Only if you grasp that they are traitors does any of this make sense. Why do they never talk about strike or industrial action? Why did they rush into talks so early in advance of the end of Croke Park 1?
To catch us unaware of course.As this year progressed into next, you and I would be preparing to resist the imposition of a successor deal. They knew if they caught us napping, they might ram it through before we could all get our act together. The objective is to make sure we never realise our strength or the weakness of the Government.
Up to now it has worked a dream – for them. Will it work this time? That’s up to you and I and every other you and I in the public services.
We must all vote NO. That will not be enough. Immediately the votes start going in the wrong direction, the General Secretaries will have their plans laid for how to divide public servants against each other. They will be back into talks in a flash to rejig the deal so as to fragment and isolate the opposition. That is what we have to prevent. That is what our Executive Committees have to prevent and we the members have to make them do so.
KPSWA aims to show how this can be done. Keep with us. Pass on our messages.
VOTE NO: NO MORE TALKS: NO MORE DEALS: ENOUGH IS ENOUGH